Are They Smiling?
A young woman decides to carry on the family tradition of attending the county fair, this time with her dead parents. Kate Jean Hollowell directs and stars in “Are They Smiling?” a comedy about an unusual grieving process: spending the day alone at a fair carrying the ashes of your dearly departed. We learn who’s in the urn when she approaches a caricature artist, “can you paint me and my parents?” Before that, she’s just wandering around making small talk with strangers, playing games, riding rides, rolling around in a human hamster ball. And having imaginary conversations with her folks — at a monster truck show, she imagines her mother being worried for the driver’s safety (“mom, it’s fine, I’m sure he has health care”), and earlier she assures, “I’ll find someone soon; see, that guy is looking at me.” Indeed she does meet someone soon, a mustached man who’s also alone, also carrying an urn, and they hit it off. Just watching Hollowell move through the fair is engrossing, but there are some real laugh out loud moments as well (i.e. she lines up for a picture with a dinosaur only to remember there’s no one there to snap the photo), and it’s brought home with a charming final dance sequence. Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Max Baumgarten.